In the very last race of the final leg of the 2023 Rok GP Super Karting Series, Ethan Ong seized the opportunity to capture his very first Senior Class win last September 9/10 at the Carmona Race Track (CRT) to conclude the season on a high.
The young standout has worked tirelessly to achieve the elusive feat after he made the jump from the Junior category in 2022 to the Senior division this year. However, there were already doubts towards Ethan’s readiness to compete at the next level. At only 14 years of age he was easily one of the youngest karters on the Senior Class grid. Still, the team decided take on the challenge head on. Slowly and steadily, Ethan showed that he belonged by delivering consistent podium finishes for Ethanworx Motorsports at every outing.
Under the tutelage of renowned coach Edgen Dy-Liacco of EdgeSport, Ethan’s triumph was bound to happen. And he couldn’t have made his dad John Mark Ong prouder who is also a race car driver himself.
It was an eventful doubleheader season finale. Ethan was easily the 5th fastest karter on track on Saturday and had the leaders in his sights. He finished 7th in Heat 1 and then 3rd in Heat 2, thus allowing him to start the Finals from P5 on the grid. Driving the #75 blue-livered Ethanworx Motorsports kart, he pushed hard during the all important Finals and made it as high as P3 halfway through the race. But his engine suddenly lost power and dropped him down to P4. Luckily, Ethan managed to hold position and salvage 4th place across the line.
The team decided to put in a fresh engine on Sunday, and with some setup adjustments enabled Ethan to immediately set the 3rd fastest time during the Time Trials. He continued this form throughout Heats 1 and 2, again finishing in 3rd on both occasions with only the championship contenders Bern Corpino and Miguel Quiñones ahead of him.
With the title fight on the line, Ethan’s game plan was to simply stay out of their way and safely bring the kart home to the finish. However, a huge pileup at the start of the Finals would take several karters out that included Ethan. It was just fortunate that the race was red flagged allowing him to rejoin.
Fighting for the 2023 crown, Bern and Miguel decided to take each other out at the restart gifting Ethan the lead. Although he came under attack during the opening laps, the 14-year-old got his head down and pulled away from the pack. He would open up a 4.219 secs gap over the course of the 15-lap race and secure his maiden Senior Class win.
With the victory, Ethan concluded the 2023 Rok GP Super Karting Series 3rd in the Senior Expert Class with 225 points. Indeed, it was a successful stint for Ethan as he looks to improve for 2024.
Ethan Ong is sponsored by Auto Vault Speed Shop the distributor of Modesta Premium Glass Coatings, Autozkin Paint Protection, Respol Philippines, Powel Chemicals, Tagaytay Viewpark Hotel, Siglo Modern Filipino, JRJ Windows and Doors, Pierre’s Reserve, and Devil’s Burger.
[Photos by Matt Romualdez]